Mark 8:12 Translation of EI in context
1watson2 at open.org
Wed Jan 24 17:57:25 EST 2001
I used to struggle with this translation until the value of context
finally dawned on me. The use of EI is one of several excellent examples
demonstrating that the meaning of language is driven by the context
rather than the lexicon.
KAI ANASTENAXAS TWi PNEUMATI AUTOU LEGEI, TI H GENEA AUTH ZHTEI
SHMEION; AMHN LEGW UMIN EI DOQHSETAI THi GENEAi TAUTHi SHMEION. .
. . . . . .
KAI AFEIS AUTOUS PALIN EMBAS APHLQEN EIS TO PERAN.
The event describes a confrontation to which Jesus begins to answer
with the protasis:
"Truly I say to you if a sign shall be given to this generation . . . ."
Normally there would be a conclusion/response (apodosis) to the protasis
which is the initiating condition. Without a conclusion it becomes an
aposeopesis. What we expect doesn't appear and without fully
appreciating the circumstances some may tend to search for meaning where
is doesn't exist. I tend to disagree with a number of resources listing
EI as a "strong negation".
If you will, the apodosis comes in the form of Jesus's departure, a
'sign' of frustration also denying them the sign they sought. My
students are working on this one and I'm hoping to add some thoughtful
grist from the mill.
If anyone has an idea or two. . . . . .
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